The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 23 November 2019

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

PDF: The Sentinel_ period ending 23 Nov 2019

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals  [see PDF]

30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Statement by SRSG Gamba

Children – CRC 30th Anniversary

30th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Statement by SRSG Gamba
Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
Concern for children’s rights and their protection has brought world leaders together in 1989 to make a historical commitment to children and adopt a common standard around which to rally. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is however much more than a human rights convention for the protection of children and the fulfillment of their rights. It is the recognition that children, including those affected by armed conflict, are holders of human rights and should be considered not only as objects of protection but also as individuals who can be agents of change by exercising their rights.

The Convention says that childhood is separate from adulthood and lasts until 18; it is a protected time, in which children must be allowed to grow, learn, play, develop and flourish with dignity and without discrimination. Conflict was and remains however the greatest threat to that principle and to the realization of children’s rights contained in the Convention. For children trapped in conflict zones the concept of childhood as set forth in the Convention oftentimes stays a distant dream. At the same time, during times of war the vulnerability of children is compounded by the violence and turbulence which accompany conflict and children are more than ever in dire need of specific protection.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is at the heart of the international legal framework for the protection of children affected by armed conflict and a guiding source of operative principles and standards for the mandate that I represent. A direct link with this protection can be found in its article 38 on the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts and its article 39 stressing that States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of armed conflict. Other rights contained in the Convention are also important for the protection of children affected by armed conflict— such as the right to birth registration and the right to acquire a nationality (Article 7). Even during armed conflict states parties are required to ensure that all children, boys and girls, are effectively protected against all forms of physical, sexual or other forms of violence, abuse or exploitation as it says in Articles 19, 32–38 and to implement the rights which are critical for children’s survival and development, including the right to the highest attainable standard of health (Article 24), the right to benefit from social security (Article 26), the right to an adequate standard of living (Article 27), the right to education (Article 28), and the right to rest and leisure and to engage in play and in recreational and cultural activities (Article 31).

While an appropriate tool for the protection of children affected by armed conflict the Convention is a starting – rather than an ending – point. The standards contained therein have thus been upgraded at international level including through the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict as well as at regional level through amongst others the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. They have been further strengthened through resolutions of the UN Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict as well as through political commitments such as the Paris Principles, the Safe Schools Declaration and the Vancouver Principles.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Standards set only on paper do not change the world for children affected by war. What is needed is their full implementation through the adoption of national laws and policies as well as enforcement initiatives addressing violations of children’s rights in conflict. I am calling on all of you here today to turn good intentions into real change for children. Let me finish with the words of Nelson Mandela: “Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation”. This remains true for all of us. Thank you.

Children paying a high price for inequality – OECD Report

Children – Inequality

Children paying a high price for inequality
19/11/2019 – Rising income inequalities in OECD countries over the past two decades have hit vulnerable children hard, making it less likely they will fulfill their economic and social potential later in life, according to a new OECD report.

Changing the Odds for Vulnerable Children: Building Opportunities and Resilience says that the challenges some children face significantly raise the risk that they become disadvantaged in adulthood, putting the brakes on social mobility. Yet early investment in education, health and families yields high returns later in life.

Children who grow up in poor families have less access to quality education and health care. As young people, they are likely to enter the labour market at an earlier age than their peers and take up low-skilled jobs at a time when technological change and globalisation are increasing the returns to education.

Child poverty has increased in almost two-thirds of OECD countries over the past decade, with one in seven children in the OECD growing up in poverty today. The living standards of children from low-income families have also declined in many countries, particularly for those families with the smallest incomes.

The report also reveals homelessness among families has risen significantly in England, Ireland, New Zealand and some US states. For children, homelessness can lead to increased anxiety, loss of contact with family and friends and poor educational outcomes.

“The odds are stacked against vulnerable children and countries need to act now,” said Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Leader of the OECD’s Inclusive Growth Initiative, launching the report during a conference at the OECD on the issue of vulnerable children, which included an address by Nobel Prize Peace Winner Kailash Satyarthi. “More efforts are needed and quickly to redress the balance to create a level playing field and ensure that the children who are worst off can get the better deal they deserve. Countries should quickly put in place child well-being strategies that prioritise the needs of vulnerable children.”

Children with disabilities, for example, are twice as likely to live in poor households. Maltreatment is also a major issue, with around 4-16% of children experiencing physical abuse, 10% neglect or emotional abuse and over childhood 5-10% of girls and 1-5% of boys experience sexual abuse. Chronic stress in early childhood can also have long-term consequences for cognitive and social and emotional development, as well as children’s health.

The odds can be changed when vulnerable children are given the right support to build resilience, says the report. This includes providing children with opportunities to build positive relationships with adults, providing early intervention for mental health difficulties and supporting parents. Programmes such as mentoring, arts education, youth mental health projects and family resource centres empower children and family to overcome adversity and disadvantage.

Direct investments in low-income children’s health and education generate the highest pay-off, many paying for themselves in the long run through increased tax revenue and lower social transfers.

Countries need to put in place policies to tackle these issues, ranging from empowering vulnerable families and enhancing child protection, to giving every child the opportunity of starting education early and reducing child poverty. Early intervention is key and should be prioritised, as young children under three years old are especially affected by family stress and material deprivation because of the rapid pace of early brain development.

In a separate report released at the conference Building Resilience in Vulnerable Children, the OECD revealed the changing patterns of family life. Across the OECD on average, 4 in 5 children live in couple families, but over the past 10 years, the share of children living with informally cohabiting parents has increased from 10 to 16%. Around 17% of children also live in single parent families. Yet a child in a single parent family is three times more likely to be poor than a child in a couple family.

The partnership status of parents should not affect entitlements to child-related support within tax and benefit systems, says the report. However, less than two thirds of OECD countries allow non-married couples to register their partnerships or grant them the tax and benefit advantages available to married couples.

Tax and benefit systems need to be more responsive to changes in children’s living arrangements. This will require better information systems, as well as simpler and more transparent benefit rules and needs assessment criteria in order to help social policy treat all children equally…

Convention on tourism ethics is major step towards tackling child exploitation, say UN human rights experts

Children – Tourism; Exploitation

Convention on tourism ethics is major step towards tackling child exploitation, say UN human rights experts
GENEVA / NEW YORK (19 November 2019) – UN experts on human rights* have urged all States to sign up to a framework convention on the ethics of tourism, which they hailed as an important step forward in combating the exploitation of children in travel and tourism, and in promoting their rights.
“There is an urgent need to tackle the violence and exploitation experienced by children in the context of travel and tourism,” the experts said.

“No country is immune from this grave problem, which has expanded across the globe and has out-paced efforts to respond at the international and national levels.

“The Framework Convention is an important tool for shining a light on the violence and exploitation suffered by children in the context of travel and tourism, and for spurring action to end it. It aims to ensure that tourism develops in line with human rights law. We urge all States to become party to it.”
The Framework Convention, adopted by the UN World Tourism Organization in September 2019, endorses the principle that tourism activities should respect gender equality and promote human rights, especially the individual rights of children, older persons, people with disabilities, ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples, and members of other vulnerable groups.

It notes that the exploitation of human beings in any form, particularly sexual, especially when applied to children, conflicts with the fundamental aims of tourism.

“The Framework Convention was preceded by a Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, which was very valuable in promoting responsible and ethical tourism and tackling the exploitation of children. However, moving from a voluntary set of guidelines to a binding international instrument sends a strong signal that Member States are ready to accelerate their action and to enhance accountability in this field,” the experts said.

States that ratify the Framework Convention will be required to combat and penalise the exploitation of children, especially sexual exploitation. It adds to the existing body of international law devoted to protecting children and prohibiting child labour, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

It will also help deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has targets on promoting sustainable tourism and ending violence against children.

“These targets are linked to each other and help reinforce each other,” the experts said. “Safeguarding children from discrimination, exclusion, violence and exploitation is indispensable to ensuring that all forms of tourism are truly responsible and sustainable.

“We look forward to working with the UN World Tourism Organization, States, civil society partners, the business sector and others to promote the swift ratification and effective implementation of the Framework Convention.”

The UN experts also hope that by implementing it, Member States will ensure that workers’ rights will be fully respected in line with international standards, and that businesses in the tourism sector will be held accountable for rights violations including trafficking for labour exploitation in their supply chains.

*UN experts:
Ms Najat Maalla, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children; Ms Maud De Boer-Buquicchio, Special Rapporteur on the sale and sexual exploitation of children;
Ms Urmila Bhoola, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences;
Ms Catalina Devandas-Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities;
Ms Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children;
Mr Saad Alfarargi,Special Rapporteur on the Right to development;
Mr Dainius Pūras, Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health;
Ms E. Tendayi Achiume, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;
Ms Rosa Kornfeld-Matte,Independent expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons;
Ms Victoria Tauli-Corpuz,Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

DECLARATION OF THE 9th WORLD SCIENCE FORUM :: Science Ethics and Responsibility

Science Ethics and Responsibility
Text adopted on 23 November 2019, Budapest

With the encouragement and support of the partner organisations of the World Science Forum, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the International Science Council (ISC), the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), and the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC), we the participants of the 9th World Science Forum, held from 20-23 November 2019 in Budapest, adopt the present declaration.

World Science Forum (WSF), an outcome of the 1999 World Conference on Science, is a biennial event that since 2003 has been successfully assembling scientists, policymakers, industry leaders, civil society and the media to discuss the role of science in meeting global challenges.

In line with the recommendations of the 1999 World Conference on Science (WCS) on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge, and taking into account the 2011 Budapest Declaration on the New Era of Global Science, the 2013 Rio de Janeiro Declaration on Science for Global Sustainable Development, the 2015 Budapest Declaration on The Enabling Power of Science, and the 2017 Jordan Declaration on Science for Peace we reaffirm our commitment to the rigorous and ethical conduct of scientific research and the responsible use of scientific knowledge.

Science, Ethics and Responsibility –20 years after the 1999 World Conference on Science
The Declaration on Science and the Use of Scientific Knowledge endorsed by representatives of 155 governments in Budapest at the 1999 UNESCO World Conference of Science was a pioneering document outlining a clear vision for science and society in the 21st century. It defined an expanded role and responsibility for science in a new era of human history in which science and technology are primary drivers of societal change.

Indeed, in the past 20 years, we have seen a revolution in multiple fields of scientific research coupled with deep and ongoing change in our societies. New scientific discoveries in fields such as information and communication technologies, synthetic biology and gene editing, artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning have further increased the pace at which science and technology impact our environment and society, with the potential to entrench rather than reduce inequalities.

Environmental and social challenges including demography, climate change, pollution and water security have raised new expectations for science.

Globally, investment in research and development has greatly increased, and new state and non-state actors have reshaped the established global order and impacted the production of scientific knowledge and the distribution of science investment and funding.

In our societies transformed by the rise of new communication channels and social media, scientific knowledge is increasingly challenged in public discourse by opinions and beliefs based on distrust, insufficient engagement, poor science literacy, and inefficient communication of science to the public and policymakers. At a time of accelerating global change, it is particularly important that young people in all societies have access to scientific education.

:: We recall the 1999 Declaration on Science and the use of Scientific Knowledge and acknowledge the growing importance of the message of “Science for the 21st Century: A New Commitment” as presented in its recommendations.

:: We must ensure shared responsibility for ethical considerations to be recognised as intrinsic to defining the objectives of scientific inquiry, making funding allocations, and conducting, disseminating and applying research. This should apply in particular to the education and inclusion of young and emerging scientists and innovators.

:: We foster a proactive culture of self-regulation by scientists.

:: We embrace the Principle of Freedom and Responsibility in Science adopted by ISC member organisations, the renewed Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers adopted by UNESCO, and the AAAS Statement on Scientific Freedom and Responsibility as reference documents for further consideration.

:: We celebrate 20 years of international science dialogue since the 1999 World Conference on Science and 100 years since the establishment of the International Research Council, the first non-governmental organisation to foster scientific collaboration on a global scale. We affirm our commitment to scientific responsibility for the global public good through attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


[1] Science for global well-being
The value of science cannot be measured solely by its contribution to economic prosperity. Science is a global public good with the ability to contribute to sustainable development and global well-being.

:: We recognise the responsibilities of scientists to conduct and apply science with integrity, in the interest of humanity, for well-being and with respect to human rights.

:: We call for the reassessment of science and funding policies recognizing the value of science as a tool to push the boundaries of human knowledge, to promote universal well-being, to monitor, analyse and respond to environmental, social and economic challenges, and to address the capacity needs of scientifically lagging countries.

:: We embrace the freedom of scientists to plan and conduct research that may not be specifically responsive to any immediate socio-economic or environmental expectations. Good science must be free to fly when curiosity is the driving factor.


[2] Strengthen global standards in research integrity
In the world of globalised science there is a growing need for the harmonisation and promotion of research integrity which includes common codes of conduct and their enforcement. This should apply especially for rapidly developing areas of science and research performed by transnational entities.

:: We call for harmonisation and enforcement of standards of conduct of scientific research across borders and across public and private research.

:: We acknowledge that worthy research requires more than intellectual merit and impact; it must be ethical, inclusive, and socially responsible.

:: We call for the establishment of self-regulatory processes by which scientists can report suspected research misconduct and other irresponsible research practices, without fear of reprisal, and the establishment of procedures for responding to such allegations.

:: We support regional and national efforts to promote global standards of research integrity, and in particular we celebrate the emergence from World Science Forum 2017 of the Charter of Ethics of Science and Technology in the Arab Region.


[3] Fulfilment of academic freedom and the human right to science
While acknowledging that the principle of academic freedom is supported and promoted by science organisations globally, there is little consensus on the conditions that enable its fulfilment. In an evolving era in which science is increasingly dependent on research infrastructure, research funding, and top-down policy agendas, the concept of academic freedom must be revisited.

Academic freedom must operate at every point in the research process. It must encompass the autonomy of researchers and research institutions, access to peer-reviewed scientific knowledge and data without systemic barriers, access to research infrastructure and funding, and the freedom to set bottom-up research agendas in all fields of science, including social sciences, and the freedom to communicate scientific results.

:: We acknowledge that scientific freedom can only be respected by society if it is based on strict ethical principles.

:: We call on the international scientific community to develop new standards for the fulfilment of academic freedom, and to create tools to describe, monitor and measure its integral conditions.
We acknowledge the vital nature of curiosity-driven basic sciences. We welcome the UNESCO’s designation of 2022 as the International Year of Basic Sciences for Development.

:: We reaffirm our support for the rights of refugee and other displaced scientists.

:: We reinforce our commitment to promote the right to science for all—including those underrepresented and underserved by science, such as women and minorities —as an essential precursor to sustainable and prosperous societies and durable peace.


[4] The responsibility and ethics of communicating science
The pace of scientific discovery has quickened, but barriers to scientific information and the benefits of research remain. The increased complexity and volume of scientific information requires new methods of data validation and research dissemination. While the application of artificial intelligence opens new paths for the management of scientific research and data, it also raises concerns about privacy, control and the use of personal data. Such developments alter the landscape of access to knowledge and present challenges in transitioning to novel publishing models and the application of new communication strategies.

:: We reinforce our commitment to science as a global public good and support open science and new publishing models that grant access to scientific publications.

:: We recognize the importance of scientists engaging with the public about science, including the risks associated with its conduct or application and the acknowledgement of other interpretations of research.

:: We encourage scientists to foster citizen science and to promote the co-creation of actionable knowledge.

:: We recognize the imperatives for evidence-informed decision-making and a stronger science-policy-practice interface and, therefore, the need for scientists to be trained to communicate their work to decision-makers and the general public.

:: We recognize the powerful role of media in communicating scientific information and call for rigorous fact checking and analysis in reporting. We call for a reassessment of science’s relationship with media, particularly in view of conflicting or misleading news and information, and the use of false equivalence.

:: We encourage scientists to produce, apply and communicate science and to raise awareness of both the benefits and ethical considerations.

100 Countries Now Commit to Ending Attacks on Education


100 Countries Now Commit to Ending Attacks on Education
Incidents of the Military Use of Schools Decline in Countries Endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration

(New York, November 20, 2019) The recent endorsements by Morocco, Vietnam, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu and Ukraine bring the total number of states that have joined the Safe Schools Declaration to 100, the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) said today. Ukraine became the 100th country to endorse the declaration today.

“More than half of all United Nations members have now joined the Safe Schools Declaration, representing a critical mass of countries committed to protecting students, teachers, their schools and universities from attack,” said Diya Nijhowne, GCPEA’s Executive Director. “The remaining governments should also sign on and fully implement the Declaration if the UN Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved, not only for education but all the goals, as they are inextricably linked to safe education for all.”

The Safe Schools Declaration is an inter-governmental political commitment to protect education in armed conflict led by the governments of Argentina and Norway and launched in May 2015, with GCPEA’s active support. By endorsing the Safe Schools Declaration, governments commit to improve monitoring and reporting of attacks on education and military use of schools, assist victims of attacks, prosecute perpetrators, and promote measures that enable safe education to continue during war. By joining the Declaration, governments also endorse and commit to use the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.

Between 2015 and mid-2019, GCPEA identified nearly 10,000 reported incidents of attacks on education harming over 17,800 students, teachers, and education personnel across all levels of education. GCPEA identified a systematic pattern of attacks on education in 37 countries in this period, and collected reports of military use of schools and universities in 32 countries…

In its new fact sheet, Practical Impact of the Safe Schools Declaration, GCPEA presents a growing body of evidence showing how the Safe Schools Declaration is helping to protect education from targeted and indiscriminate attack during armed conflict. It also underscores a significant decline in schools and universities being used as bases and barracks, weapons stores, detention centers, and for other military purposes.

In 2018, GCPEA found at least 80 reported incidents of military use of schools and universities, a drop from 2015, when GCPEA identified at least 160 reported incidents, among the 12 countries that endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration in 2015 and experienced at least one incident of military use of schools…

Four private foundations announce they will provide at least $20 million in a combined grantmaking initiative to strengthen women’s funding organizations around the world

Philanthropy – “Women’s Funding Organizations”

Four private foundations announce they will provide at least $20 million in a combined grantmaking initiative to strengthen women’s funding organizations around the world
November 20, 2019
Four private US foundations announced today that they are providing at least $20 million in a combined effort to strengthen women’s funds—organizations that provide financial and other support to advance the human rights and opportunities of women, girls, and LGBTQI people in countries around the world.

Women’s funds have a long track record of knowing where and how to support organizations working to achieve gender equality in their communities, countries, and regions. Today, they are leading women’s rights movements in some of the most challenging contexts and informing philanthropic donors in supporting those efforts.

The initiative will help women’s funds invest in their own organizations—strengthening infrastructure, leadership, communications, fundraising, learning, and other efforts—to help them maximize their impact and achieve their goals.

Foundation for a Just Society, the Open Society Foundations, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation have designed the five-year initiative in consultation with women’s funds.

“We at Prospera International Network of Women’s Funds see this initiative as a great opportunity for ensuring a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for funding women’s rights and gender justice throughout the world. By strengthening the capacity of women’s funds to better operate and respond to a rapidly changing world, these funders will be able to better support feminist movements at the forefront of social change,” said Emilienne de León, executive director of Prospera International Network of Women’s Funds.

New Venture Fund (NVF) has been selected by the four foundations through a competitive process as the initiative’s fiscal sponsor and will provide guidance and administrative support to the initiative. NVF will in turn be supported by Arabella Advisors, a philanthropic consulting firm.

Women’s funds have received significant new resources from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Affairs Canada, and several private foundations in recent years. However, the vast majority of these resources are used to make grants to smaller, grassroots organizations working to advance women’s rights and not to support the development of women’s funds. This reflects the limitations of bilateral funding and the commitment of women’s funds to support feminist movements.

This initiative is designed to build women’s funds own organizational capacity—by using the resources to invest in areas such as communications; resource mobilization; leadership; information technology; and monitoring, evaluation, and learning, among others…

In addition to helping women’s funds strengthen their own organizational capacity, the donors aim to make women’s funds more visible to other funders and supporters of women’s and LGBTQI rights. The money will also support efforts to help women’s funds learn from one another and for philanthropic organizations to learn from them as well…

This press release is also available in Spanish, French, and Brazilian Portuguese.

World Heritage Review :: Special Issue – The Silk Roads

Featured Journal Content – Heritage Stewardship

World Heritage Review
n°93 – November 2019
Special Issue – The Silk Roads
The Silk Roads encompass some of the most complex and fascinating systems in the history of world civilizations. A shifting network of roads and pathways for trade that evolved over centuries, it enabled the exchange of cargo such as silk, spices, gems, furs, but also shared art, religion and technology. It is also one of the first cultural ‘corridors’ to be inscribed on the World Heritage List, embodying the principles of cultural diversity, heritage and peaceful cooperation that are fostered by both UNESCO and the World Heritage Convention.

In 2014, after years of preparation among countries, the property of the Silk Roads: the Routes Network of Chang’an-Tianshan Corridor was inscribed on the World Heritage List. This 5,000 km section of the extensive Silk Roads network is a transnational site crossing China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, stretching from Chang’an/Luoyang, the central capital of China in the Han and Tang dynasties, to the Zhetysu region of Central Asia. Thirty-three components are included in the routes network, including capital cities and palace complexes of various empires and Khan kingdoms, trading settlements, Buddhist cave temples, ancient paths, beacon towers, sections of the Great Wall, fortifications and religious buildings.

In this issue, we learn about the complicated process of establishing this extraordinary site, and efforts underway to carry this work further through the South Asian Silk Roads World Heritage nomination project. We examine the particularities of the Silk Roads in Iran and Turkey, and the natural heritage along the way, such as Tajik National Park and the Saryarka-Steppe and Lakes of Northern Kazakhstan.
There is an interview with Doudou Diène, who led UNESCO’s original Silk Roads research project. He shares with us the origins of this groundbreaking project and the significance of carrying forward this work today.

We also share the results of the 43rd session of the World Heritage Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan from 20 June to 10 July 2019, including the Committee’s decisions concerning sites in danger and new sites inscribed on the World Heritage List…

Universality and diversity in human song

Featured Journal Content – Heritage Stewardship

22 November 2019 Vol 366, Issue 6468
Research Articles
Universality and diversity in human song
By Samuel A. Mehr, Manvir Singh, Dean Knox, Daniel M. Ketter, Daniel Pickens-Jones, S. Atwood, Christopher Lucas, Nori Jacoby, Alena A. Egner, Erin J. Hopkins, Rhea M. Howard, Joshua K. Hartshorne, Mariela V. Jennings, Jan Simson, Constance M. Bainbridge, Steven Pinker, Timothy J. O’Donnell, Max M. Krasnow, Luke Glowacki
Science22 Nov 2019 Full Access

Cross-cultural analysis of song
It is unclear whether there are universal patterns to music across cultures. Mehr et al. examined ethnographic data and observed music in every society sampled (see the Perspective by Fitch and Popescu). For songs specifically, three dimensions characterize more than 25% of the performances studied: formality of the performance, arousal level, and religiosity. There is more variation in musical behavior within societies than between societies, and societies show similar levels of within-society variation in musical behavior. At the same time, one-third of societies significantly differ from average for any given dimension, and half of all societies differ from average on at least one dimension, indicating variability across cultures.

Structured Abstract
Music is often assumed to be a human universal, emerging from an evolutionary adaptation specific to music and/or a by-product of adaptations for affect, language, motor control, and auditory perception. But universality has never actually been systematically demonstrated, and it is challenged by the vast diversity of music across cultures. Hypotheses of the evolutionary function of music are also untestable without comprehensive and representative data on its forms and behavioral contexts across societies.
We conducted a natural history of song: a systematic analysis of the features of vocal music found worldwide. It consists of a corpus of ethnographic text on musical behavior from a representative sample of mostly small-scale societies, and a discography of audio recordings of the music itself. We then applied tools of computational social science, which minimize the influence of sampling error and other biases, to answer six questions. Does music appear universally? What kinds of behavior are associated with song, and how do they vary among societies? Are the musical features of a song indicative of its behavioral context (e.g., infant care)? Do the melodic and rhythmic patterns of songs vary systematically, like those patterns found in language? And how prevalent is tonality across musical idioms?
Analysis of the ethnography corpus shows that music appears in every society observed; that variation in song events is well characterized by three dimensions (formality, arousal, religiosity); that musical behavior varies more within societies than across them on these dimensions; and that music is regularly associated with behavioral contexts such as infant care, healing, dance, and love. Analysis of the discography corpus shows that identifiable acoustic features of songs (accent, tempo, pitch range, etc.) predict their primary behavioral context (love, healing, etc.); that musical forms vary along two dimensions (melodic and rhythmic complexity); that melodic and rhythmic bigrams fall into power-law distributions; and that tonality is widespread, perhaps universal.
Music is in fact universal: It exists in every society (both with and without words), varies more within than between societies, regularly supports certain types of behavior, and has acoustic features that are systematically related to the goals and responses of singers and listeners. But music is not a fixed biological response with a single prototypical adaptive function: It is produced worldwide in diverse behavioral contexts that vary in formality, arousal, and religiosity. Music does appear to be tied to specific perceptual, cognitive, and affective faculties, including language (all societies put words to their songs), motor control (people in all societies dance), auditory analysis (all musical systems have signatures of tonality), and aesthetics (their melodies and rhythms are balanced between monotony and chaos). These analyses show how applying the tools of computational social science to rich bodies of humanistic data can reveal both universal features and patterns of variability in culture, addressing long-standing debates about each.

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Studying world music systematically.
We used primary ethnographic text and field recordings of song performances to build two richly annotated cross-cultural datasets: NHS Ethnography and NHS Discography. The original material in each dataset was annotated by humans (both amateur and expert) and by automated algorithms.

What is universal about music, and what varies? We built a corpus of ethnographic text on musical behavior from a representative sample of the world’s societies, as well as a discography of audio recordings. The ethnographic corpus reveals that music (including songs with words) appears in every society observed; that music varies along three dimensions (formality, arousal, religiosity), more within societies than across them; and that music is associated with certain behavioral contexts such as infant care, healing, dance, and love. The discography—analyzed through machine summaries, amateur and expert listener ratings, and manual transcriptions—reveals that acoustic features of songs predict their primary behavioral context; that tonality is widespread, perhaps universal; that music varies in rhythmic and melodic complexity; and that elements of melodies and rhythms found worldwide follow power laws



Ebola – DRC+
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Ebola Outbreak in DRC 68: 19 November 2019
1. Situation update
Over the last three months, there has been a steady decrease in the incidence of confirmed Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) cases in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). In the week of 11 to 17 November 2019, nine new confirmed EVD cases were reported from three health zones in two affected provinces, compared to 126 cases reported at the peak of the epidemic in the last week of April 2019. No cases were reported from both Mandima and Mambasa health zones. After over 30 days with no new cases, Oicha Health Zone reported a new confirmed community death with links to Kalunguta, Oicha and Mandima health zones. Following initial resistance from family members and the community, a multidisciplinary team has now commenced investigations around this case. So far, the source of exposure is yet to be identified. All other cases reported in Beni and Mabalako health zones in the past week have been linked to known chains of transmission.
Although the number of weekly reported cases is decreasing, it is expected that the outbreak response will encounter more complex circumstances as some transmission continues within rural and hard to reach communities. Multidisciplinary response teams are building on sustained progress by enhancing efforts to thoroughly engage with the community in order to investigate all new cases, to improve contact tracing and access to vaccination and consequently break the remaining transmission chains…


Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 20 November 2019
:: US$2.6 billion. That is the amount pledged for polio eradication by global leaders at the Reaching the Last Mile Forum in Abu Dhabi on 19 November 2019. [See Milestones above]

Summary of new viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan – one WPV1 case and two positive environmental samples;
:: Pakistan— four WPV1 cases, two WPV1-positive environmental samples and two cVDPV2 cases;
:: Nigeria – one cVDPV2 case;
:: Democratic Republic of the Congo -three cVDPV2 cases;
:: Central African Republic – two cVDPV2 case; Angola— three cVDPV2 cases.


Editor’s Note:
WHO has posted a refreshed emergencies page which presents an updated listing of Grade 3,2,1 emergencies as below.

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 23 Nov 2019]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Ebola Outbreak in DRC 68: 19 November 2019

Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified
Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified


WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 23 Nov 2019]

Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Angola – No new digest announcements identified
Burkina Faso [in French] – No new digest announcements identified
Burundi – No new digest announcements identified
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified
Iran floods 2019 – No new digest announcements identified
Iraq – No new digest announcements identified
Libya – No new digest announcements identified
Malawi floods – No new digest announcements identified
Measles in Europe – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified
Niger – No new digest announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified


WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 23 Nov 2019]

Chad – No new digest announcements identified
Djibouti – No new digest announcements identified
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified
Mali – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified


UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic
:: OCHA Syria ǀ Situation Report #12: Humanitarian impact of the military operation in north-eastern Syria, 1-19 November 2019
… On 17 November, the Ministry of Health (MoH) with support from partners, commenced a five-day polio vaccination campaign targeting 65,500 children under five in eastern and western rural Deir-ez-Zor governorate…

Yemen – No new digest announcements identified


UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
Editor’s Note:
Ebola in the DRC has bene added as a OCHA “Corporate Emergency” this week:
CYCLONE IDAI and Kenneth – No new digest announcements identified
EBOLA OUTBREAK IN THE DRC – No new digest announcements identified


The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
Week ending 16 November 2019

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice

PDF: The Sentinel_ period ending 16 Nov 2019

:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals  [see PDF]

Joint Statement on Human Rights and Humanitarian Concerns Related to Conflict Affected Women and Children in Syria and Iraq

Human Rights – Women-Children in Syria, Iraq

Joint Statement on Human Rights and Humanitarian Concerns Related to Conflict Affected Women and Children in Syria and Iraq
New York, 11 November 2019 – Four United Nations High-Level Advocates express their concerns about the precarious human rights, humanitarian and security situation faced by thousands of people, mainly composed of women and children, who are being held in inhumane conditions in overcrowded camps or other settings in northern Syria and Iraq.

“We are deeply concerned about the uncertainty of detention and security arrangements in this region including possible lack of due process, arbitrary detention, imposition of the death penalty, torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, sexual violence, among others, as well as limited access to basic humanitarian services such as food, water, medical care and other essential services. We stress that children should not be detained, except as a matter of last resort and only for the shortest possible period, in line with international, human rights and humanitarian laws including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its Optional Protocols.”

The recent ongoing hostilities can further exacerbate the dire conditions of this highly vulnerable group and the four UN advocates express their concern at the possible consequences for the whole region. “We urge positive and cooperative action by States to ensure the full protection of human rights and ensure humanitarian needs of these civilians are met.”

“Recognizing that acts of sexual violence have been used as a tactic of terror, we urge that women, boys and girls who have suffered sexual violence and/or have been trafficked or otherwise forced into marriage, sexual slavery and exploitation by UN-listed terrorist groups are not re-victimized by being punished for offences resulting from their exploitation. Survivors of sexual violence committed by UN-listed terrorist groups must be treated as victims of terrorism and should be entitled to holistic support including reparations and redress.”

“States should also take all necessary measures to avoid the stigmatization of children, including those who were born of conflict-related sexual violence or children who were recruited or used by parties to conflict. States must also prevent discrimination of these children based on nationality, birth and immigration status, and should take all measures to prevent statelessness.”

The four UN advocates remind States that they have the obligation to take all the necessary steps to intervene in favour of their nationals abroad, including through the safe repatriation of women and children to their countries of origin with full respect of non-refoulement. The situation of women and children deprived of their liberty in northern Syria and Iraq must be assessed on an individual basis. Any decision regarding children should be guided by the best interests of the child as well as principles of family unity, including in the context of repatriation.

“We commend the action of States who have already facilitated the return of their citizens, acknowledging the vulnerability of women and children trapped in displacement camps. We call on States to fully implement their legal obligations by accepting those citizens who wish to return to their country of citizenship, granting due process to those who should be prosecuted and reintegrating individuals as appropriate into society. We call on States to treat all survivors of violations, specifically boys and girls, humanely and fairly, so to affirm their dignity and rights. We offer our collective support and assistance to all Member States to work towards this end.”

This statement has been signed by: The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (OSRSG-SVC), the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children in Armed Conflict (OSRSG-CAAC), the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children (OSRSG-VAC) and the Special Rapporteur on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism.

Report – Ending child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains

Child Labour

Ending child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains
Report – Jointly authored by the ILO, OECD, IOM and UNICEF under the aegis of Alliance 8.7,
12 November 2019 :: 114 pages
Achieving commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end child labour, forced labour and human trafficking requires that governments, business, the financial sector and civil society take strong action to address the root causes and determinants of these human rights violations. While global supply chains have the potential to generate growth, employment, skill development and technological transfer, they have also been linked to human rights violations and abuses.

Ending child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains presents research findings and recommendations on child labour, forced labour and human trafficking in global supply chains the report also represents the first ever attempt to measure these human rights abuses and violations on a large scale.

According to the latest global estimates, there are a total of 152 million children in child labour and 25 million children and adults in forced labour in the world today. While it is possible to estimate with growing precision the total number of people in child labour and forced labour, determining how many of these people are in production and consumption linked to global supply chains remains a significant challenge. The goods and services purchased by consumers are composed of inputs from many countries around the world and are processed, assembled, packaged, transported, and consumed across borders and markets. Mapping these intricate supply chains, or, to use a more descriptive metaphor, supply “webs”, is complex. Identifying where and to what extent child labour, forced labour and human trafficking occur along these supply chains is even more so. Tracing the origins of a final product or even its components requires capturing statistics not only in the market where the product is “consumed”, but also all along its supply chain, a task that is beyond the scope of traditional survey and national accounting methods.6 For example, identifying child labour at each segment of a global supply chain would require very detailed information on the sectoral composition of child labour and on the interdependencies between industries within an economy and across countries…

Global action on the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

Human Rights – Children

Global action on the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
Government commitments to implementing child rights in the 21st century.
In 1989, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Thirty years on, Member States are invited to renew their commitment to the full implementation of the Convention – implementing child rights in the 21st century.


Thursday, November 14, 2019
Millions of vulnerable children at risk as governments fail to renew pledges to protect their rights
ChildFund Alliance, Plan International, Save the Children International, SOS Children’s Villages International, Terre des Hommes International Federation and World Vision International.

Child rights organisations express outrage at global inaction as the UN marks the 30th anniversary of the most widely ratified international human rights treaty

(London): The lives of millions of vulnerable children are at risk because the majority of the world’s nations have failed to renew their commitment to children’s rights, six leading international child rights organisations have warned.

The agencies, represented by a coalition – Joining Forces – expressed dismay that only a handful of countries have made concrete commitments to advance children’s rights to mark the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on 20 November.

Less than half of all countries have so far adopted the “For every child, every right” global pledge to redouble action for children, at the invitation of UNICEF and the United Nations.

Worse still, less than 50 countries have submitted national pledges and almost none of the countries with the highest rates of child poverty and deprivation have made any commitments.

“There are millions of children who have been left behind,” said Meg Gardinier, secretary general of ChildFund Alliance and chair of Joining Forces. “For all we have achieved since 1989, their suffering is a grave breach of the promises made to children 30 years ago. It is imperative that states work with renewed vigour and urgency to realize the rights of all children.”

The six agencies urged governments to make specific policy commitments for children or pledge increased investments in areas such as education, health or social protection.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified international human rights treaty in history. It has prompted substantial investment in children’s health, education and safety and the adoption of laws and policies that recognise the rights of children, particularly in areas where they are vulnerable, including labour exploitation, corporal punishment, alternative care and forced and early marriage.

However, the coalition expressed grave concern that despite extraordinary advances in the last three decades, the lives of too many children remain blighted.

Andrew Morley, President and Chief Executive Officer of World Vision International, said: “Shocking numbers continue to die from preventable causes, with millions more missing school or facing heart-breaking abuse. An estimated 12 million girls under 18 are married each year. I recently met an 8-year-old girl in East Africa who had been subjected to FGM and forced marriage. Her childhood was stolen and her future devastated. We cannot stand by and allow this atrocity to keep happening.”

The Joining Forces report: A Second Revolution: 30 Years of Child Rights, and the Unfinished Agenda, showed commitments made three decades ago to protect the rights of children remain unfulfilled for millions. Violence still affects countless children. Discrimination based on age, gender, disability, sexual orientation and religion harms children worldwide.

Key factors include a lack of investment in critically important services. Most countries fall well short of spending the 5-6% of GDP needed to ensure universal coverage of essential health care. And foreign aid, which many lower income countries rely on, is falling short in areas such as health and education.

Another factor, the report said, is the lack of quality data. Governments tend to rely on data that reflects national averages, making it difficult to identify the needs of specific children and to monitor progress. Comprehensive data collection and disaggregation of data by gender, age, disability and locality, are increasingly important as rights violations disproportionally affect disadvantaged children.

Existing statistics show that poverty is still the single greatest determinant of outcomes for a child.
Children in the poorest 20% of households are 40% more likely than average to die before their fifth birthday. Young children in the poorest families, as well as in rural and remote areas, are 2 to 3 times more likely to suffer stunted physical growth. And children worldwide are twice as likely as adults to live in extreme poverty.

ICC judges authorise opening of an investigation into the situation in Bangladesh/ Myanmar

Rohingya – Justice

ICC judges authorise opening of an investigation into the situation in Bangladesh/ Myanmar
Press Release 13 November 2019
On 14 November 2019, Pre-Trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or the “Court”) authorised the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for the alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction in the Situation in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh/Republic of the Union of Myanmar (“the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar”).

ICC Pre-Trial Chamber III is composed of Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia, Presiding, Judge Robert Fremr, and Judge Geoffrey Henderson.

This authorisation follows the request submitted on 4 July 2019 by the Prosecutor to open an investigation into alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction committed against the Rohingya people from Myanmar.

The Chamber also received the views on this request by or on behalf of hundreds of thousands of alleged victims. According to the ICC Registry, victims unanimously insist that they want an investigation by the Court and many of the consulted alleged victims ‘believe that only justice and accountability can ensure that the perceived circle of violence and abuse comes to an end’. The Chamber recognised all the individuals and organisations that assisted, guided and advised alleged victims throughout this process.

The Chamber concluded that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over crimes when part of the criminal conduct takes place on the territory of a State Party. While Myanmar is not a State Party, Bangladesh ratified the ICC Rome statute in 2010. Upon review of the available information, the Chamber accepted that there exists a reasonable basis to believe widespread and/or systematic acts of violence may have been committed that could qualify as the crimes against humanity of deportation across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border and persecution on grounds of ethnicity and/or religion against the Rohingya population. The Chamber found no need to assess whether other crimes within the Court’s jurisdiction may have been committed, even though such alleged crimes could be part of the Prosecutor’s future investigation.

Noting the scale of the alleged crimes and the number of victims allegedly involved, the Chamber considered that the situation clearly reaches the gravity threshold. According to the supporting material, an estimated 600,000 to one million Rohingya were forcibly displaced from Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh as a result of the alleged coercive acts. Noting the victims’ views, the Chamber agreed with the Prosecutor that there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation into the situation would not be in the interests of justice…

Open Society Fdn Pledges Support for African Cultural Heritage Restitution

Heritage Stewardship

Open Society Pledges Support for African Cultural Heritage Restitution
A new Open Society initiative will support efforts to return cultural inheritances that were taken from Africa to their rightful homes.
November 12, 2019 NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations today announced a $15 million initiative to strengthen efforts to restore cultural objects looted from the African continent. Over four years, the initiative will support networks and organizations working to return Africa’s heritage to its rightful home.

“The legacy of colonial violence has deep implications for the ways that racism and imbalances of power are perpetuated today. This isn’t just about returning pieces of art, but about restoring the very essence of these cultures,” said Patrick Gaspard, president of Open Society. “We are proud to support this movement towards reconciling historical wrongs, as part of our mission to advance true justice.”

… “With so much of Africa’s precolonial cultural legacy housed in European museums, these artifacts are out of reach for millions on the African continent, who have a right to their own knowledge and cultural production,” said Rashida Bumbray, director of Culture and Art at Open Society. “Restitution is not only about rightsizing the past, but about access to one’s own heritage and a necessity to maintain this connection for future generations.”

…Partnering with museums, governments, artists, academics, and civil society, the initiative will involve colleagues from across the Open Society Foundations…Grant making will put Africa’s needs and priorities at the forefront and may include support for grassroots organizations, coalition building, litigation, public monitoring, and expert convenings with African scholars, cultural and creative figures, spiritual leaders, policy officials, and others.

Packard Foundation Announces 2020 Launch of Five-Year Strategy at the Intersection of Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Conservation

Development – Heritage Stewardship

Foundation Announces 2020 Launch of Five-Year Strategy at the Intersection of Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Conservation
November 12, 2019
In January 2020 the David and Lucile Packard Foundation will launch a new five-year, $7.5 million-per-year Agriculture, Livelihoods, and Conservation (ALC) grantmaking strategy.

Formerly a grantmaking pilot, ALC is now a formal strategy involving the Foundation’s Conservation and Science program and Population and Reproductive Health program. ALC will continue its work supporting organizations and leaders focused on small-scale farmers in tropical forest areas. These smallholder farmers are working to protect the planet’s rich biodiversity while building thriving economic futures for their communities.

“The pilot phase confirmed that there are many creative solutions around the globe that enhance the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and rural communities while maintaining the biodiverse forests and ecosystem services that they rely on,” says Walt Reid, Program Director of the Foundation’s Conservation and Science program. “We are eager to dig in with more long-term investments, applying what we’ve learned to a targeted approach that supports both people and planet.”

Moving forward, ALC will continue to support groups of people that are at the nexus of this delicate balance, namely, smallholder farmers, women, young people, and Indigenous communities. ALC will also maintain its focus on specific geographies, with a few adjustments.

…In 2012, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Board of Trustees launched seven years of research and exploratory grantmaking in food and agriculture. This included a three-year pilot period of investments examining agriculture and livelihoods in Indonesia, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, guidance from an advisory council composed of members of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and issue area experts, and engagement with smallholder farmers, grantee partners, and experts in the field. The pilot period ends in 2019, and the new strategy will launch in January 2020.

Global lessons from South Africa’s rooibos compensation agreement

Featured Journal Content

Volume 575 Issue 7782, 14 November 2019
Editorial | 12 November 2019
Global lessons from South Africa’s rooibos compensation agreement
Indigenous communities must be compensated for their knowledge and treated as equals in research.

Nine years. That’s how long it took representatives of South Africa’s rooibos tea industry to agree to compensate the Indigenous San and Khoi communities for their peoples’ contribution to the development of the 500-million-rand (US$33.6-million) industry.

It is a landmark agreement — the first such deal that applies to an entire industry — but it should not have taken so long to complete, and it could have been negotiated without some of the recriminations now being heard. Whereas the Indigenous communities and the government — which brokered the deal — are celebrating, industry isn’t, and says that the agreement could threaten jobs.

Researchers whose work involves collaborating with Indigenous communities will be wondering what they can learn from this case. One important lesson is that there are more harmonious ways to work collaboratively with Indigenous communities.

One reason why the rooibos agreement was nine years in the making is that tea-industry representatives, concerned about risks to their intellectual property, contested the communities’ claim that rooibos tea is based on centuries-old Indigenous knowledge of the plant. That led to a prolonged stalemate between the two sides.

San community representatives first wrote to South Africa’s government in 2010 arguing that, under the law, they are entitled to a share in the tea industry’s profits because it had used their traditional knowledge.

The communities felt they had a good case: the rooibos plant (Aspalathus linearis) is endemic to South Africa’s Cederberg region, which was inhabited by San and Khoi communities long before settlers from Europe forcibly took their lands. The government commissioned a review of the historical and ethnobotanical literature, which concluded in 2014 that there is a strong probability that rooibos tea had Indigenous origins, and said that there was nothing in the literature to contradict the community’s claims.

The industry had reservations about these findings, arguing that there is little published scientific evidence that explicitly states that the ancestors of today’s San and Khoi communities were the first to brew rooibos teas. It went on to commission its own study, which supported its side of the argument — and added another three years to the timeline.

Two studies reviewing essentially the same historical literature and coming to different conclusions is not unusual. Records of historical events — and even records of recent ones — are often open to interpretation. But however the research is interpreted, there’s a moral case to compensate long-mistreated groups. The government advised the tea industry that it needs to pay the communities, which will receive 1.5% of the ‘farm gate price’ — that paid by agribusinesses for unprocessed rooibos.

Research and commerce have different reasons for wanting access to traditional knowledge, but both have the ability to do so without sharing the credit or the potential benefits with those who generated it. This is what concerns the Indigenous communities the most and was the motivation, two years ago, for the San communities’ production of a code of ethics for researchers. The code urges scientists to be up front about their intentions, to follow through on promises to share publication credit and, where possible, to build community capacity for Indigenous groups to do their own studies.

The ethics code and the rooibos agreement are small steps towards a bigger demand: that Indigenous people, especially those whose ancestors lost lives, land and livelihoods during more than a century of exploitation, are treated fairly and as equals.

When researchers work with communities as partners, all sides can expect to enjoy more constructive relationships and to benefit from knowledge. Industry must do the same.

The 2019 report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: ensuring that the health of a child born today is not defined by a changing climate

Featured Journal Content

The Lancet
Nov 16, 2019 Volume 394Number 10211p1779-1878, e36
The 2019 report of The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: ensuring that the health of a child born today is not defined by a changing climate
Nick Watts, et al
From Executive Summary
The Lancet Countdown is an international, multidisciplinary collaboration, dedicated to monitoring the evolving health profile of climate change, and providing an independent assessment of the delivery of commitments made by governments worldwide under the Paris Agreement.

The 2019 report presents an annual update of 41 indicators across five key domains: climate change impacts, exposures, and vulnerability; adaptation, planning, and resilience for health; mitigation actions and health co-benefits; economics and finance; and public and political engagement. The report represents the findings and consensus of 35 leading academic institutions and UN agencies from every continent. Each year, the methods and data that underpin the Lancet Countdown’s indicators are further developed and improved, with updates described at each stage of this report. The collaboration draws on the world-class expertise of climate scientists; ecologists; mathematicians; engineers; energy, food, and transport experts; economists; social and political scientists; public health professionals; and doctors, to generate the quality and diversity of data required.

he science of climate change describes a range of possible futures, which are largely dependent on the degree of action or inaction in the face of a warming world. The policies implemented will have far-reaching effects in determining these eventualities, with the indicators tracked here monitoring both the present-day effects of climate change, as well as the worldwide response. Understanding these decisions as a choice between one of two pathways—one that continues with the business as usual response and one that redirects to a future that remains “well below 2°C”—helps to bring the importance of recognising the effects of climate change and the necessary response to the forefront.

Evidence provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Energy Agency, and the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration clarifies the degree and magnitude of climate change experienced today and contextualises these two pathways.

The impacts of climate change on human health
A child born today will experience a world that is more than four degrees warmer than the pre-industrial average, with climate change impacting human health from infancy and adolescence to adulthood and old age. Across the world, children are among the worst affected by climate change. Downward trends in global yield potential for all major crops tracked since 1960 threaten food production and food security, with infants often the worst affected by the potentially permanent effects of undernutrition (indicator 1.5.1). Children are among the most susceptible to diarrhoeal disease and experience the most severe effects of dengue fever. Trends in climate suitability for disease transmission are particularly concerning, with 9 of the 10 most suitable years for the transmission of dengue fever on record occurring since 2000 (indicator 1.4.1). Similarly, since an early 1980s baseline, the number of days suitable for Vibrio (a pathogen responsible for part of the burden of diarrhoeal disease) has doubled, and global suitability for coastal Vibrio cholerae has increased by 9·9% (indicator 1.4.1).

Through adolescence and beyond, air pollution—principally driven by fossil fuels, and exacerbated by climate change—damages the heart, lungs, and every other vital organ. These effects accumulate over time, and into adulthood, with global deaths attributable to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2·5) remaining at 2·9 million in 2016 (indicator 3.3.2) and total global air pollution deaths reaching 7 million.

Later in life, families and livelihoods are put at risk from increases in the frequency and severity of extreme weather conditions, with women among the most vulnerable across a range of social and cultural contexts. Globally, 77% of countries experienced an increase in daily population exposure to wildfires from 2001–14 to 2015–18 (indicator 1.2.1). India and China sustained the largest increases, with an increase of over 21 million exposures in India and 17 million exposures in China over this time period. In low-income countries, almost all economic losses from extreme weather events are uninsured, placing a particularly high burden on individuals and households (indicator 4.1). Temperature rise and heatwaves are increasingly limiting the labour capacity of various populations. In 2018, 133·6 billion potential work hours were lost globally, 45 billion more than the 2000 baseline, and southern areas of the USA lost 15–20% of potential daylight work hours during the hottest month of 2018 (indicator 1.1.4).

Populations aged 65 years and older are particularly vulnerable to the health effects of climate change, and especially to extremes of heat. From 1990 to 2018, populations in every region have become more vulnerable to heat and heatwaves, with Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean remaining the most vulnerable (indicator 1.1.1). In 2018, these vulnerable populations experienced 220 million heatwave exposures globally, breaking the previous record of 209 million set in 2015 (indicator 1.1.3). Already faced with the challenge of an ageing population, Japan had 32 million heatwave exposures affecting people aged 65 years and older in 2018, the equivalent of almost every person in this age group experiencing a heatwave. Finally, although difficult to quantify, the downstream risks of climate change, such as migration, poverty exacerbation, violent conflict, and mental illness, affect people of all ages and all nationalities.

A business as usual trajectory will result in a fundamentally altered world, with the indicators described providing a glimpse of the implications of this pathway. The life of every child born today will be profoundly affected by climate change. Without accelerated intervention, this new era will come to define the health of people at every stage of their lives.

Responding to climate change for health
The Paris Agreement has set a target of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1·5°C.” In a world that matches this ambition, a child born today would see the phase-out of all coal in the UK and Canada by their sixth and 11th birthday; they would see France ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by their 21st birthday; and they would be 31 years old by the time the world reaches net-zero in 2050, with the UK’s recent commitment to reach this goal one of many to come. The changes seen in this alternate pathway could result in cleaner air, safer cities, and more nutritious food, coupled with renewed investment in health systems and vital infrastructure. This second path—which limits the global average temperature rise to “well below 2°C”—is possible, and would transform the health of a child born today for the better, right the way through their life…

…However, current progress is inadequate, and despite the beginnings of the transition described, the indicators published in the Lancet Countdown’s 2019 report are suggestive of a world struggling to cope with warming that is occurring faster than governments are able, or willing to respond. Opportunities are being missed, with the Green Climate Fund yet to receive projects specifically focused on improving climate-related public health, despite the fact that in other forums, leaders of small island developing states are recognising the links between health and climate change (indicator 5.3). In response, the generation that will be most affected by climate change has led a wave of school
strikes across the world.

Bold new approaches to policy making, research, and business are needed in order to change course. An unprecedented challenge demands an unprecedented response, and it will take the work of the 7·5 billion people currently alive to ensure that the health of a child born today is not defined by a changing climate.

Health research in humanitarian crises: an urgent global imperative (

Featured Journal Content

BMJ Global Health
November 2019 – Volume 4 – 6
Health research in humanitarian crises: an urgent global imperative (11 November, 2019)
Brandon A Kohrt[1], Amit S Mistry[2], Nalini Anand[2], Blythe Beecroft[2], Iman Nuwayhid[3]
[1]Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Department of Global Health, George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA
[2]Fogarty International Center, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland, USA
[3]Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Correspondence to Dr Amit S Mistry;
Globally, humanitarian crises—such as armed conflict, forced displacement, natural disasters and major disease outbreaks—affect more people today than at any point in recorded history. These crises have immense acute and long-term health impacts on hundreds of millions of people, predominantly in low and middle-income countries (LMIC), yet the evidence base that informs how humanitarian organisations respond to them is weak. Humanitarian crises are often treated as an outlier in global health. However, they are an increasingly common and widespread driver of health that should be integrated into comprehensive approaches and strategies, especially if we hope to achieve ambitious global health targets such as the Sustainable Development Goals. The academic research community can play an important role in addressing the evidence gap in humanitarian health. There are important scientific questions of high public health relevance that can only be addressed by conducting research in humanitarian settings. While working in these settings is uniquely challenging, there are effective strategies that can be employed, such as using flexible and adaptive research methodologies, partnering with non-governmental organisations and other humanitarian actors, and devoting greater attention to issues of research ethics, community engagement, local LMIC-based partners, building humanitarian research capacity and collaborating across disciplines.